Red Cross Ready To Help As Isaac Heads Toward Florida

WASHINGTON, Thursday, August 23, 2012 — Tropical Storm Isaac could make landfall in Florida in the next few days and the American Red Cross is getting ready to respond if needed.

The Red Cross is preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. There are 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles already in Florida and 28 more are moving into the state in advance of the storm with an additional 78 on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship emergency supplies if necessary.

 “As Isaac travels northward, we’re getting ready to help people in Florida,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “We urge folks who may be in the path of this storm to get prepared too – to check their emergency supplies, finalize their hurricane plans, and listen closely to local officials for updates on the storm.”

RED CROSS HURRICANE APP One step people should take now is to download the free Red Cross Hurricane App for mobile devices which puts real time information on hurricane safety at someone’s fingertips. The app features information on Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. People across the country planning to travel to areas that could get hit with the storm can use the app to receive weather alerts. The Hurricane App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

GET READY Before the storm, people should prepare by taking the following steps:

  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If someone does not have hurricane shutters, they should close and board up their windows and doors with plywood.
  • Fill their vehicle’s gas tank.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind, like outdoor furniture.
  • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep closed as much as possible so food will last longer if the power goes out.

More information on what to do before, during and after a storm is available on the Red Cross web site.

 MEANWHILE IN HAITI, Red Cross workers from all over the world are closely coordinating preparedness efforts and plans to respond as Isaac approaches Hispaniola. Logistical support and cholera contingency plans have been activated for the north and northeast regions of Haiti, including positioning of relief and cholera prevention supplies. The Red Cross is supporting and equipping 55 community readiness committees in camps in Port au Prince with additional first aid supplies, having worked with these committees on an ongoing basis to identify evacuation routes and alternate safe spaces. The Haitian government is in charge of evacuation shelters in Haiti. The Red Cross works with the community to help them get ready for disasters and will respond to any needs Isaac creates.

HOW TO HELP If anyone would like to help, they can make a donation by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

American Red Cross Had 137 Big U.S. Relief Operations in 46 States in Disaster-Filled 2011

At home and across the globe, Red Cross relief efforts large part of the scene.

WASHINGTON, Monday, December 19, 2011 — The American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were forever changed by disasters in 2011, from tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S. to earthquakes and other disasters around the world.

Throughout the year, the American Red Cross supported the people of Japan and Haiti, while launching 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes across the United States. In addition, major international disasters included theJapanearthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering,” said Charley Shimanski, Senior Vice President for Red Cross Disaster Services. “Devastating tornadoes, flooding and wildfires wiped out entire neighborhoods. Through it all, the Red Cross, our partners, and communities nationwide responded, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”

In the United States, the Red Cross opened 1,019 shelters and provided more than 130,000 overnight stays. 27,622 trained disaster workers served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 2.6 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 133,000 consultations and Red Cross workers opened 16,752 cases to help people get on the road to recovery.

 Tornadoes, flooding and wildfires ripped across the country

 State after state faced the powerful force of tornadoes in 2011. Devastating winds plowed through many neighborhoods, leaving destruction in their wake. Through it all, the Red Cross was on the scene, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and supplies to help with the clean-up. The Red Cross helped people affected by large-scale tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin in 2011.

A large part of the country – almost 20 states – was impacted by flooding in 2011. The Red Cross launched 27 relief operations related to flooding in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused the need for relief operations in more than a dozen states.

Thousands of disaster workers were deployed and more than 250 Red Cross feeding trucks were sent into neighborhoods to distribute meals and clean-up supplies. In New York and New Jersey alone, the Red Cross provided almost 34,000 overnight stays in shelters and distributed more than 840,000 meals and snacks.

Wildfires consumed almost four million acres across the state of Texas, and destroyed thousands of acres in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. Again, the Red Cross stepped in to help in the fire-ravaged neighborhoods, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support for those forced to leave their homes, as well as firefighters and first responders

Japan earthquake, tsunami changed people’s lives forever

In March, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan, claiming more than 15,000 lives, as well as damaging and destroying buildings, roads and nuclear power plants. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and lives were changed forever.

The Japanese Red Cross responded immediately, distributing food, emergency kits, blankets and supplies. Their medical teams provided health services, while other volunteers provided emotional support and social assistance.  More than 80,000 volunteers assisted in operating shelters, helped with clean-up efforts and provided care for the elderly.

Through the generosity of the American people and their donations, the American Red Cross continues to support recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross. These include improving living conditions in evacuation centers and temporary homes by providing appliance packages for families and winterizing structures against the cold. American Red Cross funds are also supporting the Japanese Red Cross in building a temporary hospital and rebuilding a Red Cross nursing school dedicated to training specialists in disaster medical care. Additional American Red Cross support will improve the disaster response capacity of the Japanese Red Cross.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box   37243,Washington,DC20013.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Widespread Flooding in Multiple States as Storm Moves North

WASHINGTON, August 28, 2011 – More than 27,000 people spent Saturday night in shelters opened or supported by the American Red Cross as Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast. The storm is shaping up to become a large flood relief operation and thousands of people across multiple states have already turned to the Red Cross for help.

“Our main focus right now is providing people with a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “There have been mandatory evacuations all along the East Coast and millions are without power because of this hurricane.”

While it is too early to know the full extent of the storm’s damage, the Red Cross expects to be helping people for the next several weeks.

The Red Cross has relief operations ongoing in more than a dozen states and thousands of disaster workers helping people fromNorth CarolinatoNew England. Every Red Cross feeding truck east of theRocky Mountains- more than 250 – are set to go into neighborhoods as soon as conditions permit. Tens of thousands of pre-packaged meals are in position, and the Red Cross is working with its community partners to have feeding kitchens in place after the storm moves through.

“This is a big response involving multiple states and the response will cost millions,” Shimanski said. If people would like to help, they can click or text to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or mailed to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

 Irene has already caused the cancellation of more than 50 blood drives, adding up to a loss of approximately 1,500 blood donations along the East Coast. Because each donation can be made into as many as three blood products, this translates to approximately 4,500 blood products not being available for patients who need them. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or go to redcrossblood.org.

Those affected by the storm can let friends and family know where they are by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org. They can also call a family member or friend with internet access and ask them to do their registration.

American Red Cross Responds to Deadly Midwest Tornadoes

 Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson.

An emergency vehicle drives through a severely damaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)

Just hours after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the Midwest last night, the American Red Cross opened shelters in Missouri and Minnesota to help those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.   

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “The Red Cross already has people on the ground to help in these communities, and we have more on the way today.”

The American Red Cross opened a shelter in hard-hit Joplin,Missouri, shortly after the tornado struck on Sunday. That shelter, located at Missouri Southern State University, had approximately 110 people on Sunday night and can hold up to 1,000 people. The Red Cross is working with local officials inJoplinto arrange transportation to help get people to shelters and if necessary, identify additional shelter locations.

The Red Cross also opened a shelter in Minneapolis, where 200 people spent the night following the tornadoes there.

Currently, hundreds of relief supplies are being moved from Red Cross warehouses toJoplinand other affected areas. These supplies include comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies. The Red Cross is also sending in additional staff, concentrating particularly on trained health and mental health workers.

Red Cross emergency response vehicles are already responding inMissouri, helping to transport supplies to the shelter. More vehicles are headed to the area today. In addition, a Red Cross emergency communications vehicle is being sent in due to damage sustained on area infrastructure.

The Red Cross encourages people to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know they are safe by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). From a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for Friends and Family” link.

People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the Safe and Well site. Friends and family outside the disaster area can then search for messages from their loved ones by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Safe and Well also enables disaster survivors to update their Facebook and Twitter status through the website.

As the Red Cross responds in the Midwest, it continues its relief operations across the South in response to April’s tornadoes and the continued flooding along theMississippi River. This spring, more than half of the country has been affected by damaging weather, disrupting people’s lives fromNorth Dakotato the East Coast. Since March 31, Red Cross disaster workers have provided thousands of overnight stays in shelters, distributed thousands of cleanup and comfort kits and served more than 1.8 million meals and snacks.

The Red Cross is able to respond quickly when emergencies happen with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

Members of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program are 3M, Altria, Aon, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org

Red Cross President Goes to Alabama and Mississippi Following Deadly Tornadoes

Sunday, May 01, 2011 —

Jamiyah Lawson, age 4, receives a donated meal from Red Cross volunteer Carole Bird of Panama City, FL, during the aftermath of the tornado in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Gail McGovern, the president and CEO of the Red Cross, today is traveling to tornado-ravaged parts of Alabama and Mississippi today with several Cabinet leaders, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

McGovern and the group of federal government leaders, which also includes FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, are expected to visit damaged sections of Birmingham, Alabama and Smithville, Mississippi.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross, government and other non-profit partners are continuing to respond to the devastation in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and a number of other states where people need assistance. Some areas are taking time to get to because of the destruction and impassible roads.

Thousands of people from Missouri to North Carolina are returning to their homes to start the recovery process after a series of devastating tornadoes over the past two weeks.  The damage left behind will require a long-term disaster operation across a large region of the country. The American Red Cross is present in 12 states providing shelter, food and emotional support.  

“The damage caused by the storms is unbelievable,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services, who has visited Tuscaloosa, Ala. and witnessed the devastation first hand. “This is a regional disaster and the Red Cross is delivering services based on the needs of each specific area.”

In addition to working with local and federal agencies, the Red Cross has also partnered with community organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Southern Baptist Convention and the NAACP to support people in the affected areas.  “With a disaster of this scope and magnitude, the demands are great, and it’s important that we all work together to meet these demands,” Shimansk added.

In the month of April, the Red Cross provided food and a safe place to stay to thousands of people, serving more than 300,000 meals and snacks and opening 94 shelters across the country.

The Red Cross urges residents to exercise extreme caution as they return to their neighborhoods.  People should follow these steps to help ensure they remain safe:

  • Avoid downed power lines and smell for gas when entering your home or office.  Wear protective clothing like rubber gloves and boots when cleaning your home. 
  • Dispose of food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud, including canned goods, capped bottles and sealed containers.  Water may not be safe to drink, clean with, or bathe in after an emergency such as a flood.  Use only bottled, boiled, or treated water until your water supply is tested and found safe. 
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.

If you would like to help, there are several ways that people can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief: Visit redcross.org to donate online, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Additional information is available on www.redcross.org

Red Cross Responds to Southern Spring Storms and Rising Red River in North Dakota

Red Cross Disaster efforts span 13 states in just the past week

Dempsey Brady and his family gathered in the hallway as the storms from Monday night ripped through the Ellisville, MS area. They were safely in the hallway when the storm tore the roof off of their home. They were very thankful for the Red Cross visiting with them to meet their immediate emergency needs.

Today, the American Red Cross is responding across the South after severe spring storms affected hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina. At the same time, Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in North Dakota and Minnesota as the Red River continues to rise. In fact, since late March, the Red Cross has played a role in 14 disaster events in 13 states across the nation.

“Red Cross workers are helping people across the South whose homes were damaged by the recent storms, or who have no power to stay warm or cook meals for their family,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “At the same time we have trained workers and relief supplies in place in North Dakota and Minnesota, supporting the local volunteers who are fighting to protect their neighborhoods from the rising Red River.”

Wild spring storms damaged homes, downed trees and cut out power overnight in many areas of the South. Red Cross chapters opened shelters to offer people a safe place to stay and deployed disaster teams and response vehicles throughout the damaged communities. Red Cross workers are feeding emergency responders and people affected by the storms, and distributing items to help residents clean up the storm damage.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross has set up headquarters in Fargo, North Dakota to provide meals and mental emotional support as the Red River threatens to overflow its banks. More than 50 Red Cross disaster workers are either on the ground already, or en route to the Red River Valley. Ten Red Cross emergency vehicles have been deployed to the area to help with mobile feeding and distribution of clean-up items and basic necessities like toothbrushes and soap. The Red Cross has already served more than 157,000 meals in support of sandbagging efforts.

April’s severe weather has kept Red Cross disaster workers busy. This latest disaster response comes on the heels of the Red Cross assisting people in Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Texas where wildfires burned thousands of acres, destroyed homes and forced people to evacuate from their neighborhoods. The Red Cross opened shelters for those who had to leave their homes and provided food and refreshments for emergency responders.

Red Cross disaster workers were also on the scene in Florida after tornadoes, thunderstorms, high winds and flooding damaged homes and left thousands without power. Red Cross chapters throughout the state responded, opening shelters, providing food and drinks for emergency responders, and deploying emergency vehicles to distribute clean-up items to those affected by the storms.

The American Red Cross responds to as many as 200 disasters a day in the United States. This assistance helps people affected by larger emergencies such as the severe weather occurring across the country, or a family whose home is destroyed by fire. The Red Cross also continues to help the people of Japan and support the residents of Haiti. If you would like to help, you can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text REDCROSS to 90999. You can also mail your contribution to your local chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.       

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.